Gerber Life Family Times --- News and tips for familes of all ages and stages of life

Nighty Night
Sleep and children

December 2003 Issue

Bringing Up Baby
Little tips that
may help

Winter Crafts
for Kids

A Growing Interest
Fun plant projects
for kids


A primer

Nighty Night
Sleep and children

Did You Know

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It’s no mystery—sleep is a vital part of our body’s ability to function both physically and mentally. Adults, on average, require approximately eight hours of sleep per night. As adults, we can easily gauge when we haven’t had enough sleep—our productivity declines, attention easily strays and we feel terrible. Apply the same results of inadequate sleep to a child and it becomes easy to see how both learning and general demeanor can be negatively affected. Our internal biological clock is responsible for regulating the time for sleep. That natural clock causes each person to be sleepy during nighttime hours and to be active during the day. Daylight is what cues the body to shift between the two modes of awake and asleep.

According to the National Institutes of Health, children and young adults need a minimum of nine hours of sleep per night to function at their peak. When we get less than the required amount of sleep, a deficit begins to accumulate causing sleepiness throughout the day that interferes with learning, concentration, alertness and mood. It can even cause a child to fall asleep at inappropriate or dangerous times. Lack of sleep in children increases the risk of accidents and injuries as well as mood and behavior problems. It can also negatively affect performance in school, in activities and in social relationships.

Send your child out to greet the world each day well rested. Establish a proper sleep schedule and stick to it. Be careful not to let your own inadequate sleep habits rub-off on your child. If your child still doesn’t seem rested, consult your family physician to make sure your child isn’t losing sleep due to a sleep disorder such as sleep apnea or some other physical cause. The National Institutes of Health recommend you consult your pediatrician if you notice that your child:

Snores loudly, frequently or always.


Stops breathing for brief intervals during sleep.

Has trouble staying awake during the day.

A good, restful sleep can make a world of difference in how you and your child greet the day and the challenges each day holds.

Did You Know?
According to the National Institutes of Health, more than 70 million Americans suffer from some sort of sleep disorder including, sleep apnea, insomnia, restless legs syndrome or narcolepsy.

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